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EU Lawmakers Pass Bill Hiking Renewable Energy Targets

BRUSSELS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers gave their final approval on Tuesday to legally binding targets to expand renewable energy faster this decade, a central part of Europe's plans to curb climate change and shift away from fossil fuels.

The law significantly raises the EU's renewable energy targets, requiring 42.5% of EU energy to be renewable by 2030, replacing a current 32% target for that date.

It faced a tough passage through negotiations among EU countries' governments, and only won support after France won carve-outs for nuclear energy - which is low-carbon, but not renewable.

The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to pass the law with a large majority - 470 lawmakers voted in favour, 120 against and 40 abstained.

EU member countries must also green light the final bill before it enters into force - a process that usually waves through pre-agreed deals with no changes.

"It's a very important signal that the Green Deal is moving forward," French EU lawmaker Pascal Canfin said, referring to the EU's overarching climate change plan to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

EU countries and lawmakers had agreed a deal on the renewable energy law back in March which was supposed to be final, but was held up by countries seeking greater recognition of nuclear power.

EU countries okayed the deal in June, after Brussels offered written assurances that it would consider exempting certain ammonia plants from renewable fuel targets - allowing them to run on nuclear-based fuels instead.

France says Europe's shift to green energy will require hydrogen produced from both renewables and nuclear, and EU laws should support both.

Opponents including Germany and Spain had argued adding nuclear to the renewable energy law would undermine efforts to massively expand wind and solar.

The tougher targets - which include specific goals to increase renewable use in transport and industry - aim to spur the huge investments needed to meet Europe's green goals.

Europe got 22% of its energy from renewable sources in 2021, the latest year for which official EU data are available.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, editing by Ed Osmond

Source: Reuters

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